I love these two mantras:
1) Learn Something New Every Day
2) One Step at a Time!
I recite them with successes, however, am hard on myself and forget the learning process if I make mistakes or don’t know “everything” immediately. Recently I’ve improved my skills evaluating my missteps to figure out their gift, but noticed my old behavior shadowed in my daughter and didn’t like that I taught her that along with the good.
My daughter lives out loud with her whole heart. She has few fears and rarely holds back creatively, physically, or mentally. I’d noticed she doesn’t like to speak up with strangers (she’s practicing the power of her words) and when reprimanded, it breaks her heart. Yesterday, she withdrew her tears so hard, she almost disappeared. Other times she cried, wailing she was stupid. Kids learn by example so I needed a better way.
Not everyone will agree with me, but it has never been my goal to “break” my kids to demand control. I may change my approach during teenage years, but thus far it hasn’t been necessary. I draw a line and point out if they’re encroaching upon it to teach that situations offer opportunities to choose a right or wrong action – both cause reactions. Occasionally, I’ll consider negotiations but teach them to choose their battles wisely. They respect my role as mom, yet we have fun. I respect them and show their worth by doing things with them that matter to them. I want them to love life, have fun with and appreciate gems they encounter – whether fun stuff or pearls of wisdom.
I re-explained to my daughter that her behavior disappointed me, but I love her more than any other 7-year-old. My job is to help her learn what works, or not, one step at a time and her job is to learn from occasional mistakes. Then, if she does her best tomorrow she should feel proud! What a gift – a new chance every day! Tonight when she nearly compromised the bedtime border, I said, “Remember we talked about [any behavior]? I need you to [better behavior].” She nodded then skipped back on track with a smile.